Scouting Kentucky Wildcats Offense

The Kentucky Wildcats come into Gainesville 3-0 on the season under first year head coach Joker Phillips. So far they have amassed some pretty impressive offensive numbers, but a lot of that has to be attributed to their competition. Kentucky managed to score just 23 points against (1-2) Louisville but have since put 63 and 47 on the board against winless Western Kentucky and Akron, respectively.

They are averaging 242 yards a game on the ground and 227 through the air. That balance causes the Gators some problems.

One of the unique things about the Wildcats is that they boast two of the most versatile players in college football in Derrick Locke, who is primarily a running back and Randall Cobb who is primarily a receiver. They both finished in the top four of the SEC in all purpose yardage.

Locke rushes for 124 yards a game, catches passes for another 20 and can also be seen returning kickoffs and punts. He leads the SEC in rushing, marking the second week in a row the Gators have faced the league leader. Donald Russell gives them an inside running presence (16-94).

Cobb on the other hand has already been involved in touchdowns in four different ways. He is Kentucky's best receiver (12-13.3, 2 TD). He's a dangerous runner (9-12.0, 1 TD) and also throws the ball (2-2, 34, 1 TD). Oh he also returns punts (8, 8.1, 1) and kickoffs (20.6) and has a 50-yard punt return for a TD this year as well.

Cobb is just part of a pretty impressive receiving corps. TE Jordan Aumiller is not big but he is a good receiver (7-104). WR Chris Matthews (7-114, 2 TD) and Matt Roark (7-121) are really big targets, 6-4, 6-5 type guys.

Quarterback, Mike Hartline (54-75, 72%, 680, 5/-) has been remarkably efficient in the first three games, but he's played three pretty bad football teams. A year ago he had to battle for his job week in and week out and finished with six TD passes with seven interceptions. He has not faced much pressure this year, but he should on Saturday. Morgan Newton, who challenged Hartline for the job the last two years, is a more mobile guy.

The offensive line is not all that good. In fact I think it is no better than what Florida has seen in its other games. The Gators ought to be able to inflict its will here at least to some extent. LG Stuart Hines is the only returning starter and he is doubtful for Saturday night with an injury. The unit has done a good job so far, but every player they will have to block this week is better than any player they have seen this year.

Overall, Kentucky has some outstanding offensive weapons. Florida needs to control Locke on first down, know where Cobb is at all times and put enough heat on Hartline to make him rush his throws.

Tomorrow we look at Kentucky's defense and special teams.


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